fun while it lasted

Lots of things have changed during the pandemic, some good and some not so good. Prior to the world essentially shutting down I hated working from home. It always seemed like such a pain in the ass, bringing home my laptop and finding space on my desk to set it up, and then trying to stay focused with so many potential distractions. It was, in my opinion, awful.

That was Garth and I back when this all started, possibly the very first day I worked from home. In all fairness, there was a LOT going on at that time. The pandemic was in the very early days, though we didn’t know that then. My mom was moving out of the house and in with R, my (now) stepdad. And I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen with the living situation involving Lancelot.

To say that I had a lot on my mind was a big fucking understatement.

Lancelot moved in, we got married, and I have a dedicated office space to work out of. Often there is a cat, or two, and sometimes a dog that serve as my coworkers. Some days I work in pajamas, some days I do laundry on my breaks, and I don’t typically wear my bra past lunch time. We have a system and it works and we all mostly enjoy it.

So this of course means that my plan to continue working from home has changed. We found out this morning that members of our team are going to be expected to be on campus at least three days every week. Well fuck.

The only thing that ever really stays the same is that damn near everything changes. I’m not sure if that’s true of the corporate world, I haven’t worked in that realm for so long, but it’s 100% true of higher education. Nothing stays the same and you can’t count on anything actually happening until it’s actually happening.

It’s definitely nice to know that I’ll still be coming home to this goofy little fuzzbutt.

sketchy bananas, coming to a cereal bowl near you

Steel cut oats with blueberries and bananas

I’ve been trying to stretch my culinary muscles by trying new recipes. Sometimes it is an utter fail. More often it results in a total win, like the picture above. I had purchased steel cut oats because I’d never tried them but had heard that you could cook them in a batch and then have multiple servings for during the week. This appealed to me. So yesterday I did a quick search and found this recipe that not only used the oats but also a few bananas that were at a point of needing to pay me some rent money. This is the recipe I kinda mostly sort of followed.

I have to say that I suck at following recipes like this because I improvise. I think I actually used 3 bananas, because I had them, and there’s no way in hell I measured the honey, vanilla, or cinnamon. I will say, based on the reviews I read, I opted to spray the inside of the crock with non-stick stuff before I started and I’m glad I did. Also, mine resulted in five servings that were approximately 1C each. (that’s what my little containers hold) I did the calorie breakdown based on the original ingredients but then divided for five servings instead of four and I get 252 calories. Not bad for a filling breakfast that took almost no effort.

TA DA!

I finished the flowers the other day. Not like this is fine art or anything, but it does make me happy to have been able to do it. I would like to try to work back up to at least feeling comfortable drawing. I don’t know that I’ll ever quite get back to the skill level that I was at, low as it was, but still. I’d like some small piece of that former artist to be back.

Death to the mousie!!!

I am trying getting back to the healthier way of life. I did some food prep yesterday, in addition to the breakfast oat stuff I boiled a bunch of eggs, and I have the menu for the week figured out. I don’t really have lunches figured out but I might do leftovers. Today will be a baked sweet potato, mostly because it needs to be eaten and that’s something I like. Getting the food situation under control is crucial, but I know I need to get back to walking more.

There’s no excuse. I feel better when I make healthier choices in terms of calorie intake and activity. I’m an intelligent person, I understand causation. I know that every choice I make has a consequence, some good and some not so good. And I’ve done it before, so I can do it again.

For realz yo, like a motherfucker

I know that part of my difficulties right now tie back to the pandemic and the way the world has been lately. I had gotten used to traveling and being able to go wherever, whenever. And then we had to stop all of that so that we could all stay safe and be healthy. Totally worth it and I wouldn’t change anything we did. Lancelot and I have talked and in addition to getting the vaccines we’ll continue to wear masks inside businesses even though the mandates are lifting here.

But I’m tired of this house right now, much as I love it. There’s a very aggressive robin that built her nest above one of the lights on the back deck so I can’t get out in the yard without being attacked, and that isn’t helping. And the changes we’ve wanted to do inside the house are pretty well done. Over the weekend we went to my office and retrieved the rest of my stuff. My Master’s degree is now hanging up here in my home office, the first time it’s ever been hung off that campus.

So life is just fucking odd. And I need to escape, so we’re taking a road trip. L and I have only ever taken two trips together; a short road trip to a really cool little town in Missouri called Weston. I totally recommend it if you’re anywhere near the Midwest. Our other trip was to Ireland. It was amazing and I really want to get back there one day. We will.

Lancelot and I at my birthday dinner

This will be a short road trip, up north a bit this time. I’m ready for it, I need it. We’ll have some time to just be together and I think we need that.

I cannot freakin’ even right now

That is the bracelet I helped to make this weekend

Is that not absolutely stunning? It’s moonstone and sterling silver, and yes, I actually did parts of the construction. It was beyond wonderful to spend time with my friend Saturday morning and see first-hand what goes into making this kind of jewelry. Not only was it informative as hell, but getting to be with another human who I haven’t seen in absolute ages was totally wonderful. So I now know a little bit more about the process of silversmithing, I have an even deeper appreciation for the amount of work that goes into a piece like this, and I have a one of a kind wearable work of art that coordinates with the other beautiful moonstones pieces I have from her.

If you are interested in your own truly beautiful jewelry, and she does custom work too, you should visit her website at https://www.whirlsofpearls.com/.

I also got to see my friend N and deliver his holiday gift, only four months late. He didn’t care. (he got that cabled scarf) We also went for lunch which was a lovely little bonus.

I still don’t feel like I’m totally back on track, but I’m trying. I have my clothes for the week organized, I spent time in the kitchen yesterday doing some food prep, I made cookies (healthy ones), and the laundry is essentially caught up. So yay!

The kids have been a little feisty lately

I do have some fun stuff to look forward to this week. I’m going to do a session at the glass studio and try to make a little something for myself, just as another creative outlet. And on Saturday I’m going with Mom for mani/pedi time. My feet are very excited.

Keep doing what you can to help keep yourselves and your loved ones safe. L gets his second shot at the end of the month and we are excited as hell. WOOT!

keeping it between the lines

Proof that I am still alive and I haven’t forgotten how to knit

It feels like an awful lot has happened since last I could be bothered to blog, and that’s probably because an awful lot has happened. Much of it has been good but there have been a few less than amazing things as well. That’s how life is though, right? Balance.

I am now the proud owner of two Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shots. Unfortunately I had a fairly common reaction to the second one which was not so swell. I had chills, a headache, very little coordination, brain fog, zero appetite (though I could still smell and taste), and it felt like I had been hit in the arm with a sledgehammer. That lasted two days and then I was fine. If I had it to do all over again you can bet your ass that I would, in a heartbeat.

My handsome and hilarious husband is three weeks behind me, but he says he likes the view back there

I have been knitting, and cooking, and still managing to lose weight. I am now down 26lbs, and as such as the smallest I have been since I was 18 years old. This pleases me to no end. I don’t even mind that I’m running out of clothes that fit.

With the knitting I’m working on what started life thinking it would be a simple shrug and has now decided it wants to be a kimono style vest, maybe with small sleeves. We shall see. But that’s the very rainbow piece up at the top of this post. I am loving the yarn.

Last night’s dinner helps with two of my goals for the year since it’s both an Indian dish and a vegetarian dish. For my first shot at making Mattar Paneer it really wasn’t half bad.

things to celebrate

For all that she is a raging pain in the ass sometimes, Dog Blossom is a good pup and pretty damn adorable

Let’s see, where to begin…

  • I’ve had four days in a row of 5000+ steps
  • I’ve tried some new recipes that were mostly successful
  • we’re having a small group of friends over tomorrow night to celebrate a late St. Patrick’s, early birthday, and the start of our vacation
  • I have now lost 24lbs
Spaghetti squash cooked in the instant pot and then mixed with a little butter, olive oil, garlic, grated Parmesan, and low fat ricotta

I’m quite excited about how things are going with the weight loss. I have been trying to make sure that I not only get my steps in but I also pay attention to my calories and eat a good variety of food, including healthy fats, and that I’m getting plenty of water. It’s a process, to be sure, but there are definitely pieces of this that are just second nature now. And that, probably more than anything else, makes me ridiculously happy.

Well, also, my pants are starting to be way too baggy. That makes me pretty fucking happy too.

Tomorrow morning I’m going with Mom to get a manicure, something I haven’t done since right before Lancelot and I got married last August. I certainly don’t feel like having the one shot is going to magically make me bullet-proof, but it gives me hope. I do feel like there are a few more things I can do, still carefully, and that I don’t need to worry quite constantly or quite as much. It will still be many months, if not until next year, before I feel safe to travel anywhere other than by driving our car. I’m just not ready for planes yet.

I am ready for restaurants, and that’s pretty exciting. We’ve done a lot of take out in the last year, generally just once a week but still. There’s just something about actually going in somewhere and enjoying a good meal. I’m even going to get spiffed up. For my outing on Sunday with my folks I have a black dress that I’ve never worn that actually fits very nicely now.

He’s fucking adorable when he’s sleeping. When he’s awake he bites leaves off my plants and then go racing off with them in his mouth. Captain Naughty Pants indeed.

a bit of an update

I got my first shot. Lancelot is still a goober, albeit my very favorite goober.

The shot was fine, no issues at all. I actually woke up Saturday morning feeling better than I have in a while. So yay. The shot didn’t hurt or cause me any more trouble than any other vaccine I’ve ever had. It was less painful than the MMR, if anyone has an adult memory of getting that one. My only side effect was a slightly sore arm.

Eric has been particularly photogenic lately

I’m doing pretty well with life in general right now. I did a lot of food prep stuff this weekend that I think will be helpful and I have a plan of attack for getting the house in shape for next weekend. For the first time since Lancelot and I have lived here together we are having friends over, in the house, for a meal and a concert.

I am damn near beside myself with excitement.

Everyone in attendance will either be fully vaccinated or have their first shot, with the exception of L. These are also friends of ours that are just as careful about COVID safety precautions as we are. And that will start the week of celebrations. There will be dinner with my mom and stepdad, dinner out with L at our favorite restaurant, museums, I’m assuming Thai food, and my birthday is in there. I need this vacation so damn bad.

Dog Blossom is pooped too

The healthy eating/exercise/Noom stuff is going well. I’ve lost a total of 22.5lbs and now that I’m starting to feel better it’s time to get back to exercising. My goal (once again) is to hit 5000+ steps every day and to drink at least nine 8oz glasses of water every day. It’s just now coming up on 2pm and I already have almost 2200 steps so I consider that good. Thirty minutes on the treadmill will help quite a bit.

The food prep I did was mostly getting together more of the smoothie packs, partly because I had fresh spinach to use and partly because that was a big time saver. This time I used nonfat plain Greek yogurt and only 2.75oz. I also prepped four snack bowls with a hard boiled egg and two clementines and five “salad starters.”

I have these divided container things so I put fresh spinach in the biggest part and then chopped up a cucumber and divided that among the containers and used the smallest spot for shredded carrots. At lunch I dumped all of that into a big bowl and added a hard boiled egg, 1/4C roasted pumpkin seeds (also pre-measured), and my salad dressing (if you guess pre-measured you’d be right).

Having all of that measured ahead of time made my lunch preparation time today almost negligible. It was nice to have a little extra time during my break to do other things. Like laundry.

Mama, laundry is evil

things that make you stay sane

There was a meeting at work this morning, whole department not just my tiny team, that was meant to give us tips for not burning out and staying professional and basically just surviving the whole “you’ll be working from your homes now and no, we really aren’t sure for how long” business.

But we’ve been at this for over a year now.

And they really don’t know how much longer we’ll have to do it.

And yes, that’s a 25lb Goldendoodle on my lap.

Anyway, it seemed like rather a waste of time to me but what the hell do I know? And I guess that was my frustration; everything they talked about is either stuff I’m already doing (because we should) or avoiding doing (because we should) and I mostly felt like I could have done a better job of the session in part because of that. Well, that and a whole lot of self-awareness that I’ve cultivated over the last 15+ years of mental health care.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I started this post on Tuesday, right before all hell broke loose. So let me take just a moment to catch y’all up.

I’ve been fighting off this icky fatigue, upper respiratory, chills nonsense for a while now. Rather a long while. But I’m stubborn and, to the best of my knowledge, had not been exposed to The Rona. Tuesday afternoon my body decided to toss in some GI stuff and that was it. I changed into jammies and sought out a comfy chair in the sunroom and basically melted into a puddle of cold goo.

Yesterday morning I decided that enough was enough, the symptoms were too close to COVID for comfort. And Lancelot still goes to work every night and his place of employment is kinda “petri dish-esque.” I will say, I feel pretty good that this was the very first time either of us had felt the need to be tested. I feel good because we’ve been following the guidelines from that nice Dr. Fauci.

At any rate, it was not overly pleasant, not gonna lie. And mine has come back and it was negative. So I called my doctor’s office and got setup for a telehealth visit. That nice doctor said the rapid test I had done was not accurate enough for his liking, particularly given my symptoms, so he ordered another test that also included testing for influenza A and B. Fortunately you can do all three of those things with a single brain-tickling swab.

The results from that were all negative. Still don’t know about Lancelot. He feels fine though, which is good. So now I’m waiting to hear back from the doc about what we do next, especially since he mentioned bacterial pneumonia. So much fucking excitement I can hardly contain it.

For now I’m working, as best I can, and trying to stay warm and hydrated.

Garth is just too freaking adorable

In other news, I am down 22.5lbs. I find that sort of miraculous given the last few days I’ve moved less than your average sloth and I’ve eaten more calories than I really needed. But I know that my body is doing its best to fight off whatever this is, plus I have an active cyst issue. Yay.

The other good news, my fingers are good enough that I’ve started knitting again. I had tried to make a hat for my stepdad for Christmas and it turned out too big, so I’m trying again with the kind of yarn I always use. It’s a delightfully straightforward pattern so it’s excellent TV knitting and right now that is precisely what I need.

I am late getting to the party, but smoothie bowls are amazing

so there I was, hip deep in spent bubble gum wrappers and empty sardine cans listening to polka on an old walkman when suddenly…

Eric occasionally enjoys drinking nice cold water from the running tub tap

Every time I think I’m going to be able to get back to working on a project I find a dozen things that need to be done in the kitchen that all involve either having my hands in water or washing them very frequently, and that means all the good I’ve done with repairing the damage to the skin on the fingertips goes right down the drain. Literally.

I freely admit that I got this idea from Pinterest, right over here

Those are freezer smoothie packs and I think they’re going to be brilliant. Most of the time I don’t mind the extra prep that goes into feeding myself these days, but every now and then I’m running way late or my ambition is ridiculously low but I do still need to eat. Everything but the almond milk is in these and is pre-measured, including the yogurt. They’re seriously fucking brilliant.

I did spend some time yesterday afternoon while Lancelot was sleeping going through my stash of craft supplies and I found some needle felting supplies and kits, including one that’s a picture – like a paint by numbers thing – that’s done on marked felt. That should be easy enough to do, assuming I have time. By the time I could sit down last night to eat it was after 6pm and I was just done. I did also find some coloring books and that made me happy.

This is the face off a woman who desperately needs a vacation

We’re fast approaching my personal one year Rona’versary. I began working from home on March 23, 2020. The university had known we’d be switching to remote delivery of courses so they gave everyone a two week long spring break to get their shit together. L had made big plans to take me out for my birthday and that weekend was when virtually everything shut down.

A lot has changed since then. I was thinking about that this morning on my drive to get L, not sure why. There are things that I miss about “the old days,” but mostly I’m content.

I miss feeling safe just going out in public. I miss feeling safe eating at restaurants. I miss shopping in stores. I miss going to the theater.

But I love that my job is such that I can work from home, and that I have the critters keeping me company, and that the people I love haven’t been sick. The stuff I miss isn’t really all that important.

And I hope that we all put some thought into what we want for our New Normal. We have an opportunity right now to shape our world moving forward in really meaningful ways. I’d go so far as to say that we all have an obligation to make this a better place to live.

losing track

It feels so strange to think that I’ve been working from home for almost a year now. And it’s even more strange for me to think that I’m fast approaching a second birthday celebrated in a very subdued fashion due to a global pandemic. Not like that’s huge, but it’s huge.

Want to know what else is huge?

I got to move the big slider one spot to the left this morning and I’m pretty sure I screamed with pure delight

I am officially 249.75lbs and that has been an unofficial goal for a while now. The next actual official goal will be 225lbs. I’m hoping that getting back to the treadmill and starting to use the pilates bar on a more regular basis, along with going back to drinking more water every day, will help get me there a bit more quickly.

Part of this is needing routines. I’ve said it before, I live and die by routines. I’m starting to get back into some of the routines/habits that I used to have that really seemed to help, if nothing else they would help with my mental health.

  • I get a week’s worth of outfits out on the weekend, including any necessary under garments and jewelry; they hang together in the back of my closet.
  • I use pill trays to organize and set out my morning and bed time pills, two weeks’ worth at a time.
  • I have a reminder set on my phone for Monday evenings – that’s when I take my Humira shot.
  • I have other reminders set on my phone for things like monthly cleaning chores, watering plants (weekly), and giving the dog her meds (monthly) – my philosophy on this is “set it and forget it.”
  • I always put my car keys in the exact same place when I get home, on a key rack in our entryway. If I don’t put them there I lose them, without fail.
  • I keep multiple baskets in the laundry room so that I can take the dirty stuff down and sort it every few days. When there’s enough of something to run a load I do it. This keeps me from spending an entire day on the weekend doing laundry.
  • I try to create a menu for the coming week – just dinners – mostly to make sure I have all of the ingredients on hand.
  • I go to bed and get up at approximately the same time every single day. Part of it is my brain not letting me sleep in much and part of it is just that I’m so used to this schedule.

I realize that probably already seems like kind of a lot, but I need a few more. I’m not feeling like I’m doing a very good job with…

  • Making time to do creative things every day
  • Exercising regularly
  • Unplugging before bedtime
  • Planning lunches
This is my little Garth buddy, just because

progress is sometimes slow

I’m 44 years old and I’ve been looking for this bobblehead for ages. While I’m trying very hard not to let my office be overrun with Baby Yoda stuff, there are some things I just NEED.

This has been a WEEK. And yes, I know that today is only Wednesday. But our semester started on Monday and it’s been ridiculously busy so far.

It doesn’t help that I’m feeling rather like something you’d scrape off the bottom of your shoe. I’m not one for naps, I have a hard enough time sleeping at night, but yesterday after finishing my one and only meeting I got into bed and slept for three hours. I just felt wiped out and I couldn’t get warm.

Before you get too worried let me say that I am pretty well positive that this is NOT The Rona. I think I just have a wicked head cold, maybe a mild case of the flu. I’m achey, cold, only a little congested, and tired. Very tired.

So I’m resting, I’m kind of ignoring the diet right now, and being as gentle with myself as possible. And it seems to be helping. Today I’m starting to feel better. I’m fairly sure I’m doing the right things because in spite of eating with not-quite-reckless abandon yesterday I lost 1.5lbs. I’ll take it. Today I splurged on a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. I need to feel better before I stress myself out over this.

I haven’t even been knitting the last few days, and that was the first sign that I wasn’t feeling good. This morning I had to take Lancelot for a quick blood draw and I took the shawl I’m working on with. It felt good to knit.

So I’m here, alive, still trying to fight the good fight. Mostly fighting with the dog, actually. It’s been warm enough here that the back yard is muddy and yesterday she came in covered in it. So me, not feeling good, had to wrap her in a towel, carry her up the stairs, get clean towels from the linen closet, and give her a shower – all while making sure L stayed asleep.

And yes, I pulled it off.